Air Quality Services

General Permit/Development Information

The Air Quality Management District (AQMD) administers local and state air quality regulations designed to achieve state and federal ambient air quality standards. These functions are grouped into three areas: permitting, monitoring/inspection, and long-range planning. Permitting includes both commercial and industrial sources of air emissions. Monitoring and inspections encompass permitted devices, emission testing, and responding to complaints. Implementing open burning regulations, suggesting transportation control measures, and working with state and local planning agencies to evaluate air quality impacts of development projects fulfill the land use planning component of the AQMD program.

Authorities to Construct/Permits to Operate

The District Rule 2:1A states:

  1. Authority to Construct

    Any person who is building, erecting, altering, or replacing any article, machine, equipment or other contrivance, or multi-component system including same, portable or stationary and who is not exempt under Section 42310 of the California Health and Safety Code, the use of which may cause the issuance of air contaminants, shall first obtain written authority for such construction from the Air Pollution Control Officer (APCO).

  2. Permit to Operate

    Before any article, machine, equipment or other contrivance, or multi-component system including same, portable or stationary, not exempt under Section 42310, the use of which may cause the issuance of air contaminants, may be operated or used, a written permit shall be obtained from the APCO.

    Any person wishing to build and/or operate a device or facility that will emit air contaminants into the ambient air is required to obtain an Authority to Construct from the AQMD prior to installing the device(s). Devices can range in size from individual equipment to multi-component devices at large industrial facilities. The person requesting an Authority to Construct should first contact the local Planning agency to determine all permits and authorizations for the desired installation. An application for an Authority to Construct may be obtained from the AQMD office. Completed applications include equipment descriptions, stack heights, plot plans, emissions estimates, and locations of nearby receptors (schools, subdivisions, etc.). An application fee is required. The District staff then reviews the information to estimate the levels of emissions from the proposed facility, determines the health risks, estimates the effects on the ambient air quality, and determines if Best Available Control Technology (BACT) is being applied to the emission points. For larger emission sources, the review may also include federal permitting and review requirements.

    Once the review is completed and all requirements are met, an Authority to Construct is issued. When the facility has completed the installation and starts operation, an inspection is performed. If compliance with the AQMD rules and operating conditions is determined and the annual permit fee is paid, a Permit to Operate is issued. Thereafter, annual fees are collected, inspections are performed, and the Permits to Operate are renewed.

Source Emission Testing

The District Rule 2:11a states:

f) Any new, existing, or modified stationary facility that, after construction or modification, emits any pollutant shall be required to test such facility of emissions according to the following schedule.

Emissions (tons/year) Test Schedule

Less than 25 tons/yr Voluntary, or at request of District for enforcement purposes
25 or more, but less than 50 Once every 3 years
50 or more, but less than 100 Once every 2 years
100 or more Once every year

The AQMD requires testing of the larger emission sources as outlined in the above schedule. In addition, testing is required on some types of devices when the unit first begins operation after construction, or when compliance with AQMD rules or permit conditions is questioned.

Emissions (source) testing is normally done by an independent testing contractor hired by the facility. The test is usually observed by an AQMD inspector. Tests are performed for emissions of particulate matter (smoke), oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrocarbons, and toxics (benzene, formaldehyde, etc.). The AQMD has the capability of performing tests for particulate matter, oxygen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and sulfur dioxide. Tests by the AQMD are usually done only as a periodic check on compliance.

Ambient Air Quality Monitoring

The AQMD currently operates monitoring stations in Redding and Anderson. At these sites, inhalable particulate matter (PM10) samplers are operated, every sixth day, year-round. The highest concentrations of PM10 typically occur during the open burning/wood stove use season in Shasta County which is from October through April each year.

Continuous sampling of ground-level ozone concentration is conducted from May 1st through October 31st on a 24-hr/day basis. When an exceedance of the state standard for ozone is predicted, the AQMD issues media announcements which urge the community to reduce or alter driving habits to lessen the predicted impact of this photochemically produced pollutant.

Attainment Planning for Ambient Standards

The District is required by the California Health and Safety Code to endeavor to achieve and maintain the state ambient air quality standards at the earliest practicable date and has developed an Attainment Plan with specific emission control strategies in order to achieve this goal. The Plan is a coordinated effort with participation from air districts in the Northern Sacramento Valley Air Basin. The Plan must be re-evaluated once every three years and must contain features such as best available control technology thresholds, use of reasonable available control technology for existing emission sources, transportation control measures, area wide and indirect source control programs, emission inventory analysis, and public education.

Fugitive Source Permitting

The District issues fugitive dust permits to stationary sources that have the potential to emit uncontrolled particulate matter. Watering unpaved surfaces or applying dust palliative agents are usually required as conditions of the permit.  Construction operations are required to comply with District Rule 3:16, Fugitive, InDirect, or Non-Traditional Sources, by employing Reasonably Available Control Measures to minimize dust.

Sacramento Valley Air Basin Control Council (SVABCC)

The SVABCC is a regional coordinating body composed of one member from each of the seven County Air Districts. The Council is required by the California Health and Safety Code to adopt an annual Agricultural Burn Plan for the Air Basin. The Council also reviews and endorses proposed control measures in the Attainment Plan prior to consideration for adoption by the local Air Pollution Control Board.

Stationary Source Rule Development

Rule development is coordinated among the member districts of the Sacramento Valley Air Basin. Usually, a single District will act as the lead in developing a particulate measure with an effort made to obtain input from affected sources and other air districts. All rules are developed with an Industrial Coalition Coordinating Committee that has multi-county membership as well as local affected emission sources. Most rules are developed to control emissions of ozone precursors, namely oxides of nitrogen and reactive organic compounds.

Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permitting (PSD)

EPA Region IX issues PSD permits in Shasta County for major sources of air pollutants that have a potential to emit greater than 250 tons annually or 100 tons annually if on a special list of 28 specific sources types. The elements of PSD permitting include a Best Available Control Technology (BACT) analysis, an air quality impact analysis, an analysis of impacts to soils and visibility, an analysis of impacts to national policies, wilderness areas, or specially protected areas. Applicants must contact EPA Region IX directly for PSD permits and obtain a separate Authority to Construct from the District.

Motor Vehicle Emission Reduction Program

The District receives three dollars per vehicle from motor vehicle registration funds to implement the California Clean Air Act of 1988 and to fund special projects which reduce motor vehicle emissions. The Community Education Section of the Department of Resource Management administers the outreach portion of this program through an annual solicitation of small and large grant projects. Public education has been the major effort of this program.

Variance Hearings

The District Hearing Board conducts public hearings to consider compliance plans of facilities which have violated a District regulation or permit condition and wish to continue to operate for a period of time while steps are taken to reach compliance. Emergency ninety day and one year variances are allowed by the Health and Safety Code if approved by the Hearing Board.

Outdoor Yard Burning Permits

Burning for the disposal of dry vegetation originating from a single- or two-family dwelling is allowed on designated burn days. Certain restrictions, including necessity of a permit, apply to residents in designated fire districts, city limits, and at specific elevations. Contact the District at 225-5674 for more information or the Burn Day Recording at 224-8777.

Land Clearing Burning Permits

Burning dry vegetation on property being developed for commercial or residential purposes is allowed on a burn day between November 1 and April 30 each calendar year if the property is below 1,000 feet in elevation. If the property is above 1,000 feet, burning is allowed all year unless burning is restricted for fire safety or weather-related reasons. A permit and fee is required from the Air Quality Management District. If heavy equipment has been used to form the burn piles, an inspection of the burn piles may be performed by the District prior to issuing the permit. Call the Burn Day Recording at 224-8777 for more information.

Forest Management Burning Permits

This category of burning would include range improvement, forest management and wildland vegetation burn projects. Typically, a burn plan must be submitted to the District for approval which provides information on the acreage, location, distance to populated or sensitive areas, schedule and meteorological conditions under which the burn would take place. Contact the District at 225-5674 for more information.

Agricultural Burning Permits

Agricultural burning is allowed during the entire calendar year with a proper permit unless prohibited for fire safety reasons by the California Department of Forestry (CDF). Permits are available from the District and applicable fees are required in accordance with Rule 2:11; Fees. Acreage restrictions may apply during the period from September 1 through November 30 and burning can only be done on a "burn day" as designated by the California Air Resources Board. Call the Burn Day Recording at 224-8777 for more information.

Hearing Board Appeals

The District Hearing Board may consider appeals of permit conditions specified by the Air Pollution Control Officer, issue Variances to comply with permit conditions for specified periods of time, and may issue an Order for Abatement.

Land Use Air Quality Mitigation

The District has coordinated the development of Air Quality Elements for the General Plans of the County and the Cities. The elements propose a recommended list of mitigation measures for addressing motor vehicle emissions that are associated with development projects.

Regional Air Quality Planning

The District participates with other air districts in the Northern Sacramento Valley Air Basin in formulating open burning plans and attainment plans for achieving and maintaining state ambient air quality standards. Control measures and mitigation of indirect source emissions are developed with as much uniformity as possible, considering unique differences among the various rural and urban areas.

Transportation Control Measures

The District encourages ridesharing, carpooling, alternative modes of travel, and reducing motor vehicle emissions through the Community Education Section of the Department of Resource Management.

Public Notices

A public notice is required whenever the District intends to adopt a rule or regulation which controls emissions of air pollutants. A thirty day comment period is provided as part of each notice. Also, if an emission source proposes to emit toxic or hazardous air pollutants within 1,000 feet of the outer boundary of any school, a public notice is required to be sent to the parents of all school children attending the school. The District is also required to issue public notices for all Hearing Board meetings and as part of the Air Toxics "Hot Spots" Act as appropriate.

Complaint Investigation

The AQMD responds to various types of complaints (painting, dust permit violations, illegal burning, etc.) and prepares a report for record or may prepare a Notice of Violation stating the rule violation and the penalty involved. Penalties are enforced through the AQMD's Mutual Settlement Procedure or direct referral to the District Attorney.

AB 2588 Air Toxics "Hot Spots" Analysis

Assembly Bill 2588, the Air Toxics "Hot Spots" Information and Assessment Act of 1987, was adopted in response to public concern regarding emissions of toxic air contaminants and their potential adverse health effects. The four main purposes of this legislation are:

  1. To identify the amount of toxic substances emitted into the air by specific facilities;
  2. To estimate the potential adverse health effects for members of the public exposed to these toxic air pollutants;
  3. To inform the public of these toxic air emissions and the associated health impacts; and
  4. To protect the public health by reducing toxic air emissions.

The California State Legislature mandates the AQMD to oversee the implementation of this Act. Through the Air Toxics "Hot Spots" Program, affected facilities, with assistance from the AQMD, determine air toxic emissions. Those facilities found to release high volumes of toxic air pollution are required to conduct a detailed health risk assessment estimating emission impacts upon the neighboring community. The AQMD then oversees the public notification and risk reduction process designed to reduce risk below a level of significance.

Federal Operating Permits (Title V)

Title V is a federal permit program mandated by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. This federal program requires sources in Shasta County with emissions of criteria pollutants greater than 100 tons per year or sources with emissions of 10 tons per year of a single hazardous air pollutant (HAP) or 25 tons per year of a combination of HAPs to obtain a federal operating permit. This permit is issued for a period of five years and includes all federal requirements. This program also allows EPA and the general public to comment and bring suit against a source if they are found to be operating out of compliance with the Title V permit.

Screening Health Risk Assessment

The District calculates elevated lifetime cancer risk for any proposed modification to an existing facility and all new sources to be built which may emit hazardous air pollutants. If such a project is proposed within 1,000 feet of the outer boundary of any school, the District will prepare and distribute public notices regarding the project to all parents of children at the school and all residents within one quarter mile of the proposed project.

Emission Reduction Credit Certificates (ERC)

The District administers the banking system for ERCs which are issued to emission sources in Shasta County which have reduced their non-attainment or precursor pollutants. Such emission reductions must be real, permanent, quantifiable, surplus, and enforceable. Banked ERCs may be used by the certificate holder for offsetting subsequent emission increases due to facility or production rate expansion. ERCs may also be sold to a buyer seeking to offset emissions from a proposed new emission source moving into Shasta County.

Stationary Source Malfunction Review

Permitted sources of air pollution must report to the District periods of upset, breakdown, or malfunctions that may affect emission levels within four (4) hours of occurrence. The District reviews all such reports regarding sudden and unavoidable failure of air pollution control or process equipment to determine whether such failures can be considered excusable. Poor maintenance, careless operation, or any other preventable conditions do not qualify as excusable events.

High Ozone Alerts

Twenty-four hours a day sampling of ground-level ozone concentration is conducted from May 1st through October 31st. When an exceedance of the state standard for ozone is predicted, the District issues media announcements which urge the community to reduce or alter driving habits to reduce vehicle emissions which contribute to the production of this photochemically produced pollutant.

Notices of Violation/Notice to Comply

The Air Pollution Control Board approved the District's Mutual Settlement Policy on February 13, 1990 and revised it on August 24, 2004. The Policy allows the District to issue Notices of Violation for violations of any District permit, rule, or regulation. The District may settle such enforcement actions without instituting formal legal proceedings.

California Assembly Bill 2937 requires the District to establish a class of "minor" violations to air quality rules and regulations. Air District inspectors who detect such minor violations may issue a Notice to Comply rather than the more serious Notice of Violation if resolution of the violation can be immediately accomplished in the presence of the inspector.

Environmental Impact Report Review

The District acts as a responsible agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in reviewing air quality impacts of projects that are required under the Act to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The District will utilize the findings reached in the certificate of the EIR to prepare air permitting documents.

Emission Inventories

Permitted stationary sources of air emissions must submit annual written verification of fuel combustion and production rates to the District. The fuel and production information is used to calculate the emissions (expressed in tons per year of each pollutant) for each stationary source in Shasta County. The results of these calculations are maintained in the District's emission inventory database and are also submitted to the California Air Resources Board (CARB). CARB incorporates the District's emissions inventory into the California Emission Inventory Development and Reporting System (CEIDARS). In addition to California's permitted stationary source emissions, the CEIDARS inventory also includes area-wide, mobile, and non-anthropogenic emission inventories.

New Source Review

The District permits all new emission sources in accordance with Rule 2:1 - New Source Review which specifies thresholds at which Best Available Control Technology (BACT) is implemented, requires air quality impact analyses in some cases, and describes emission offset requirements.

Visible Emission Evaluations

Semiannually, all professional District staff members are re-certified as California Air Resource Board Visible Emission Evaluators. Certified staff members conduct weekly visible emission evaluations of Shasta County's major stationary sources. Visible emission evaluations are also conducted during inspections of permitted facilities and investigations conducted in response to complaints.